In what was characterized as an “extraordinary moment,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a press conference Thursday from an underground bunker as Russian forces continue to lay siege to his homeland.
One of the questions the brave Ukrainian leader took centered on President Joe Biden’s efforts to support their David v. Goliath effort against superior Russian forces and Zelenskyy said that while communications are good, it’s a “pity” that Biden didn’t do more before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
Fox News reporter Trey Yingst is in the capital city of Kyiv and was at the press conference, posing this question: “You spoke with President Biden. How would you describe your conversations with the U.S. leader and do you believe the Americans waited too long to give Ukraine the support you need to push back this Russian offensive?”
“We have good contact,” Zelenskyy replied. “I can tell you the truth. It’s a pity it began after the beginning of this war, but we have it. My appreciation to him and to his team. So we can speak now often.”
“The question is not about Biden, it’s more about indecisiveness of the world,” he added.
The White House said Biden and Zelenskyy spoke for more than 30 minutes on Tuesday, discussing “ongoing deliveries of security assistance, economic support, and humanitarian aid,” as well as Russia’s attacks on civilians, according to Fox News.
Zelenskyy is calling on NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying that if they’re not willing to do so at least give him the planes so he can do it. Western leaders have been reluctant to do so out of fear it could result in World War III.
“The whole world is late with Ukraine, started late,” he said, according to an interpreter. “I appeal to Biden, if you cannot shut the sky now, then give us the timeline. Tell us how many people have to die, how many limbs have to fly away from people’s bodies. Please hear us.”
He also challenged Putin to talk to him, saying this is the only way to end the unprovoked invasion.
“Sit down with me to negotiate, just not at 30 meters,” Zelenskyy said, according to the Associated Press — a recent image showed the Russian president holding a meeting while sitting at an exceptionally long table. “I don’t bite. What are you afraid of?”
Yingst said he was invited to the press conference along with a small group of journalists, which was a “very last minute thing.”
“We were given a location to meet and then we got to the location and were quickly ushered into vans and driven to a final spot where the small press conference took place,” the reporter said. “I’m not going to go into too many details about the location because it’s a security risk to the Ukrainian president. He has had credible threats against his life as the Russians reportedly sent a Chechen hit squad to come and kill him.”
“But when he spoke for more than an hour, he covered a variety of topics. He was very calm, talking with us here in the Ukrainian capital discussing his desire for a no-fly zone and even describing his beliefs about Russian troops who are in his country saying they’re just cannon fodder and it’s Vladimir Putin calling the shots here,” he added.
Kyiv remains under attack and Yingst said that there are “devastating scenes unfolding as civilians are killed and injured” in towns west of the Ukrainian capital.
“The Russians continue to shell these villages and towns while they fire missiles into the capital city. Just devastating for the civilian population here,” he told host Martha MacCallum, who asked him if he knew ahead of time that he would be meeting with Zelenskyy.
“Based on who we received the invitation from, we had an idea that the president may be there. We didn’t know until we got into the room that it would indeed be Ukrainian President Zelenskyy,” he said. “It really gave us some unique behind-the-scenes understanding about how the war is taking place and his conversation with international leaders. He talked about making anywhere from 20 to 30 international calls a day and also described how some of those conversations take place.”
“He ended the conversation saying if he wasn’t president, he would fight in the army on behalf of his country,” Yingst concluded.
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